Federal and State Ministers officially mark start of construction on Hunter bottleneck

Work is officially underway on a major traffic-busting infrastructure project north of Newcastle.

Geotechnical drilling has begun on the M1 Extension to Raymond Terrace while preparation work also gets underway on the Hexham Straight Widening project which will both improve traffic flow for thousands of motorists and freight vehicles that travel along the New England Highway, M1 and Pacific Motorways.

The Hexham Straight project, which will transform a six-kilometre section from two lanes to three in each direction, will improve traffic flow for the 50,000 motorists and freight vehicles who use the route each day.

The M1 Motorway Extension to Raymond Terrace will essentially complete the ‘missing link’ of the motorway and will remove up to 25,000 vehicles a day from existing local roads.

Federal Transport Minister Catherine King was at Hexham today to officially mark the start of work on the combined $2.1 billion worth of projects.

“The Australian Government is committed to working with the NSW Government to deliver the safe and efficient road network people in the Hunter and beyond need and deserve.

“The Hexham Straight and M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace will be major infrastructure links of national significance.

“Once we have this whole M1 project finished, you’ll be able to travel from Sydney to Brisbane, once Coffs Harbour is also completed, without any traffic lights at all, it will be a major piece of work connecting two of our great capital cities from Sydney to Brisbane.”

NSW Minister for Roads John Graham said the Hexham Straight project will transform travel and provide a huge economic boost to the area.

“The Hexham Straight Widening Project will transform travel around the Hunter by improving the connection between Newcastle and the New England Highway, M1 Motorway and the Pacific Highway.

“The Hexham Straight Widening will provide about 750 jobs over its life cycle so it’s a very welcome milestone to see construction underway today. Add to that 1050 jobs during the estimated five years it will take to complete the M1 Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace and we are excited to see this construction-led economic boost for the Hunter beginning to happen.”

NSW Regional Transport and Roads Minister Jenny Aitchison is another Minister who has been waiting for the project to start for years and said it’s great to see.

“The M1 Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace is expected to create and support about 2,700 jobs during the estimated five years of construction, including employment for about 1,050 workers and about 1,650 indirect jobs with businesses supporting the work.

“The ‘missing link’ motorway extension will remove up to 25,000 vehicles a day from existing local roads.”